MoH warns of risks of contracting MERS-CoV from camels

MoH warns of risks of contracting MERS-CoV from camels
Updated 14 September 2014

MoH warns of risks of contracting MERS-CoV from camels

MoH warns of risks of contracting MERS-CoV from camels

The Ministry of Health issued an advisory on Saturday reminding the public to be cautious when dealing with camels because of the risk of contracting MERS Coronavirus.
The advisory comes as part of the ministry’s awareness campaign of the deadly virus ahead of the Haj pilgrimage when millions of people converge on the Kingdom from every part of the world.
Health Ministry spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani told Arab News on Saturday that recent studies have shown that MERS-CoV can be found in the mucus and saliva of infected camels, and research conducted by Saudi scientists has indicated that camels play a role in the transmission of this virus to humans.
“Strict implementation of standard infection control measures have led to a dramatic fall in the number of health care-associated infections,” he said, pointing out that sporadic cases are expected to continue to occur due to exposure to secretions from infected camels in the absence of mask, gloves or protective clothing.
He urged the public to abide by the Health Ministry’s directives about taking proper precautionary measures to guard against the coronavirus. “Besides the risk to the individual, the health of others including family members and health care workers can also be compromised,” he noted.
Since June 2012, there have been 729 cases of MERS in the Kingdom including 302 deaths. During this period, a total of 399 people recovered from the illness. Since Monday, there has been no new case of the virus while some 28 patients are currently being treated in hospitals across the country.
Labor Minister Adel Fakeih, who took over as acting health minister recently, adopted several preventive measures to control the spread of the virus. Besides launching a nationwide awareness campaign in Jeddah early this month, he has also appointed competent officials to combat the disease.
The awareness campaign was launched in cooperation with the World Health Organization "to empower the public with crucial up-to-date information required for combating the virus."